The American Civil War 150th Anniversary – October 20-26, 1864

General Sterling Price, CSA (Library of Congress)

General Sterling Price, CSA (Library of Congress)

Here’s a look back at some of the events in the Civil War 150 years ago this week.

This week will see the war’s last big round of fighting west of the Mississippi as CS General Sterling Price’s expedition is defeated.

Meanwhile, in Georgia, US General Sherman is camping at Gaylesville (15), watching events in the field and planning out his next move (a march to the sea by way of Savannah).

Also of note, John Wilkes Booth has just arrived in Montreal, Canada.

I regret having to bring this skunk in here, but, well, that sad event next April is approaching and the actions that led up to it, when known, should be included.

Kauffman (27) – who believes Booth used his acting abilities to add credibility to his plot in its beginning stages – suggests that Booth was in Canada to peddle his scheme to kidnap US President Lincoln (later ransoming him for a POW release) to Confederate officials based in Canada, who are sometimes called the Secret Service Bureau (PDF).

Library of Congress

Library of Congress

Kauffman, who doesn’t buy the argument made at the conspirators’ trial that they acted for the Confederate government, says that Booth realized he might face rejection if he took the idea straight to Richmond, in spite of his contacts there. However, per Kauffman, in Canada Booth could use those contacts to create an image of having gotten support in Richmond and so further his plot.

This is just one modern idea of what Booth was doing in Canada. Few details about the visit are known today, other than that he did some banking. If he was up there to wheel and deal, the Confederate response may have been limited because of the ongoing international incident after the St. Albans, Vermont, raid a few days previously.

Kauffman also notes Booth’s visits to New York around this pivotal time when the Lincoln assassination conspiracy was shaping up, and he wonders if Booth was in touch with plots and conspirators there. This week General Grant will send troops to New York City to maintain the peace during the presidential election voting. I first thought that was because of the draft riots in 1863. However, on November 2, Secretary of State Seward will warn New York City’s mayor of planned arson attacks there on Election Day. Nowadays we look back and say, oh, that didn’t happen on Election Day. Well…maybe it didn’t happen because Grant sent troops in ahead of time.

Something along those lines did happen later in the month. And for all anyone knows, John Wilkes Booth may have been in on it.

October 20

Military events: Tennessee operations: Forrest’s Raid to the Kentucky Border: CS General Abraham Buford is directed to take an observation position east of Jackson, Tennessee. (3)

African American children learning about Thanksgiving, with model log cabin on table, Whittier Primary School, Hampton, Virginia, in 1899 or 1900.  (Library of Congress)

African American children learning about Thanksgiving, with model log cabin on table, Whittier Primary School, Hampton, Virginia, in 1899 or 1900. (Library of Congress)

Other: President Lincoln designates the last Thursday in November as Thanksgiving.

October 21

Battles: Price’s Missouri Expedition: The Battle of Little Blue River.

Military events: Tennessee operations: Forrest’s Raid to the Kentucky Border: Forrest establishes his headquarters at Jackson, Tennessee. (3)

October 22

Battles: Price’s Missouri Expedition: The Battle of Independence.

October 23

Battles: Price’s Missouri Expedition: Westport, the last major battle west of the Mississippi River (6).

General Nathan Bedford Forrest, CSA.  (Library of Congress)

General Nathan Bedford Forrest, CSA. (Library of Congress)

October 24

Military events: Tennessee operations: Forrest’s Raid to the Kentucky Border: “Seeing that the enemy [i]s indisposed to venture into West-Tennessee”, Forrest sends Buford to Huntingdon. CS General Chalmers is deployed to McLemoresville while scouts are sent to Union City and Paducah. All commanders are ordered not to stop the Federals if they cross over to the Tennessee River’s west bank. (3)

In Virginia, US General Grant sends troops to New York City to maintain order during the November 8th presidential election. He also instructs General Meade to get ready for an offensive move on October 27th. (6)

October 25

Battles: Price’s Missouri Expedition: The Battle of Marais des Cygnes (a/k/a Battle of Osage, Battle of Trading Post); as well as Marmiton River (a/k/a Shiloh Creek, Charlot’s Farm); Mine Creek (a/k/a Battle of the Osage);

October 26

Battles: Franklin/Nashville Campaign, Alabama operations: The Battle of Decatur begins.

Military events: Tennessee operations: Forrest’s Raid to the Kentucky Border: Buford moves out to blockade the mouth of the Big Sandy River, sending out scouts as far north as old Fort Henry. (3)

Georgia operations: Per General Sherman (15):

On the 26th of October I learned that Hood’s whole army had made its appearance about Decatur, Alabama, and at once caused a strong reconnoissance to be made down the Coosa to near Gadsden, which revealed the truth that the enemy was gone except a small force of cavalry, commanded by General Wheeler, which had been left to watch us. I then finally resolved on my future course, which was to leave Hood to be encountered by General Thomas, while I should carry into full effect the long-contemplated project of marching for the sea-coast, and thence to operate toward Richmond.

 

Sherman at Atlanta.  (Library of Congress)

Sherman at Atlanta. (Library of Congress)

 


 
 
Sources:

(1) The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies.

(2) Battle Cry of Freedom by James McPherson (2003 – see side bar for link).

(3) The Campaigns of Lieut.-Gen. N.B. Forrest, and of Forrest’s Cavalry by Thomas Jordan, J. P. Pryor (1868).

(4) The Lincoln Log timeline.

(5) Blue and Gray Timeline.

(6) Grant Chronology, Mississippi State University.

(7) Civil War Interactive.

(8) Life of Lieutenant-General Nathan Bedford Forrest, by John A. Wyeth (1908/2011).

(9) This Week in the Civil War.

(10) The Siege of Charleston, “The State.” (South Carolina)

(11) CWSAC Battle Summaries

(12) The Longest Night: A Military History of the Civil War.” (2002) David J. Eicher.

(13) A Brief Naval Chronology of the Civil War (1861-65).

(14) The Pictorial Book of Anecdotes and Incidents of the War of the Rebellion…, Richard Miller Devens (1866).

(15) Memoirs of W. T. Sherman

(16) The Louisiana Native Guards: The Black Military Experience During the Civil War. James G. Hollandsworth, Jr., 1995.

(17) A. Lincoln, A Biography, Ronald C. White, Jr. (2009)

(18) Confederate Strategy, Fort Tyler Association.

(19) The Sword of Lincoln, the Army of the Potomac. Jeffrey Wert (2005)

(20) Black Artillerymen from the Civil War through World War I (PDF), Roger D. Cunningham.

(21) Early’s Raid on Washington/Operations Against the B&O Railroad, Wikipedia.

(22) Siege of Petersburg, Wikipedia.

(23) Petersburg National Battlefield.

(24) James F. Epperson’s Siege of Petersburg site.

(25) Lee’s Bold Plan for Point Lookout, Jack E. Schairer (2008)

(26) Chattahoochee Creek Battle to Jonesboro. Tenth Kentucky Volunteer

(27) Michael W. Kauffman. American Brutus: John Wilkes Booth and the Lincoln Conspiracies. Random House. New York. 2004.

(28) Price’s Missouri Raid. The Civil War in Missouri

(29) The Franklin-Nashville Campaign. Wikipedia

(30) Timeline 1864 (PDF). State of Tennessee

(31) Up From Slavery. Booker T. Washington.



Categories: American Civil War

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